Martin Shkreli so completely embodies the idea of a troll that he calls to mind a time when the term referred to grotesque monsters that actually lived under bridges. In the latest in his series of repugnant antics, the universally-loathed former hedge-fund manager with a permanent douche smirk was suspended from Twitter on Sunday for harassing Lauren Duca, the freelance journalist who recently wrote a viral op-ed for Teen Vogue titled, “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America.”
The piece caused a stir across the perpetually polarized Internet. It exposed the internalized sexism of liberals, shocked to discover that a publication aimed at teen girls might produce insightful, politically-aware content. It also made Duca a target for countless Twitter trolls with “deplorable” in their handles – and, apparently, for Shkreli.
On January 5th, Duca tweeted a screenshot of a direct message from Shkreli asking if she wanted to be his plus-one to Trump’s inauguration, along with the comment “I’d rather eat my own organs.” Shkreli then turned his Twitter cover photo into a collage of pictures of Duca, with the words, “For better or for worse til death do us part” scrawled across it – an incredibly creepy image, worthy of Law & Order: SVU. He also changed his profile picture to a Photoshopped one with his face over Duca’s husband’s, an obviously-fake image of himself and Duca where they appear to be cuddling on a couch.
Duca tweeted screenshots of both of these disturbing, stalkerish images on Sunday, tagging Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. She asked, “How is this allowed @Jack” and commented, “Like, that’s a picture of me and my husband. I feel sick.”
Amazingly, Twitter reacted, suspending Shkreli’s account the same day. Duca handled the whole affair with aplomb, tweeting a selfie on Sunday evening with the message, “Hi haters! Here’s a pic of me living my life. Maybe use your energy on something productive instead? Just a thought!”
Shkreli’s campaign against Duca is just the latest in a string of controversies that show him to be the actual worst. Here, a timeline of Shkreli’s evolution into the full embodiment of everything that’s wrong with America, or really, humanity.
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August 10th, 2015
Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquires the rights to a 62-year-old drug called Daraprim, which is used to help prevent parasitic infections in cancer and HIV patients. Before entering the pharmaceutical business, Shkreli was a hedge fund manager, and seemingly forgot that he had switched from trading invisible money to holding people’s health in his hands. He immediately raises the price from $13.50 per tablet to $750.
The medical community (and reasonable human beings everywhere) condemns Shkreli’s deadly price gouging, pointing out that many patients would now be unable to afford the drug that was keeping them alive. Shkreli doubles down, calling his 5,000 percent price increase of Darapim “not excessive at all” and explaining it was okay because “I’m a capitalist.” This episode earns him the nickname “Pharma Bro” and the label of “most-hated man in America.”
Shkreli gives $2,700 to the Bernie Sanders campaign – the maximum allowed for an individual – but his donation is rejected. Sanders’ campaign instead sends the money to a Washington, D.C. health clinic, announcing, “We are not keeping the money from this poster boy for drug company greed.” Shkreli, upset that he couldn’t purchase a sit-down with the presidential contender, proves that he’s in fact the poster boy for all entitlement, Tweeting that he’s so angry at Sanders he “could punch a wall.”
November 2015: Just two months after earning the world’s ire and becoming the face of the evils of the pharmaceutical industry, Shkreli buys the one and only copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin – a 31-track collector’s-edition album packaged in a hand-carved box, complete with a 174-page leather-bound book – for an estimated $2 million.
He gloats that he hasn’t even listened to the album, and that he doesn’t intend to share it with anyone but was “[saving] it for a rainy day.” Meanwhile, the Senate launches an investigation into soaring drug prices, including Daraprim. Doctors once again condemn the price-gouging by selfish, exploitative executives like Shkreli.
December 17th, 2015
Shkreli is arrested for securities fraud, on charges of repeatedly losing investor money and lying about it, and for paying off his debts illegally – basically, as Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers put it, “[running] his company like a Ponzi scheme.” Prosecutors also allege that Shkreli channeled millions of dollars of stock through sham consulting agreements when he worked for biotech company Retrophin, which ousted him a year before charges were brought. The company also sues Shkreli for $65 million. He denies all charges, posts $5 million bond, and is free to continue to troll – at least until his trial, which is set for June 2017, when he could be sentenced to up to 20 years if found guilty.
After he’s subpoenaed to testify in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about rising drug prices, Shkreli repeatedly invokes his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, instead smirking his way through the proceedings. Afterwards, he tweets that the lawmakers in charge were “imbeciles.”
After months out of the spotlight, it seems Shkreli could no longer stand the lack of attention. At the height of election hysteria, he tweets that he would release the prized Wu-Tang album, which he’d had under wraps for nearly a year, if Trump won the presidential election.
Shkreli’s wish for a Trump win is granted, but rather than release the entire album as promised, he leaks low-quality livestreams of just two tracks, making sure the world remembers that he has something they want.
In preparation for his candidate’s inauguration, Shkreli launches his disturbing attack on Duca, once again finding a whole new way to be disgusting.